WHO IS TO BLAME FOR BOSNIAN SERBS’ BAD IMAGE?
Completing his cross-examination of the Sky News TV war reporter, Radovan Karadzic tried to prove that Western journalists were to blame for the Bosnian Serbs’ bad image. As Karadzic put it, they were ‘susceptible to the charms of young Bosnian women’ the Bosnian government ‘planted’ as interpreters. American historian Robert Donia is the prosecution’s next witness
Aernout van Lynden, witness at the Radovan Karadzic trial
Radovan Karadzic continued with his cross-examination of Aernout Van Lynden, war reporter who covered the war in Sarajevo for the Sky News TV channel. Karadzic tried to prove that the Western media writing about Serbs ‘created an image darker than it actually was’ and ‘caused them great damage’. ‘I find it that Serbs are responsible for the image they had’, the witness replied. Karadzic then put it to the witness that ‘the image didn’t reflect the reality’. ‘I didn’t say that’, the witness briefly responded.
Karadzic illustrated his claims about ‘the bias’ of the Western media with a number of cartoons published in the German and US media. Karadzic also quoted from a book by Michael Rose, former commander of the UN peace forces in BH. Karadzic used the impressions of the British general about ‘objective and biased journalists’ that covered the war in BH to imply that foreign reporters were ‘susceptible to the charms of young Bosnian women’ the BH government had ‘planted’ as interpreters. ‘This is a terrible claim and it is absolutely not true’, the witness replied.
In an effort to show that the witness’s reports were ‘biased’, Karadzic brought up his report from the Serb side of the Sarajevo front line in the second half of 1992. In the report, the witness mentioned a Bosnian Serb soldier nicknamed ‘Beast’. Karadzic argued that the soldier’s nickname was in fact ‘Teddy Bear’, criticizing the witness for picturing him as a ‘beast’. Karadzic tried to explain to the judges that ‘a bear is in fact a good-natured animal’.
As Karadzic continue his cross-examination, he tried to prove that the Bosnian government held Sarajevo citizens hostage, prohibiting them from leaving the city. Karadzic wanted to show that the Bosnian government wanted to ‘demonize’ the Serbs, and to that end it fabricated reports on the number of raped women – most of them Muslims – during the war. According to Karadzic and purported evidence he didn’t show as yet, the number of raped women, which ranged between 20,000 to 80,000 during the war, eventually ‘dropped down to double digits’. In Karadzic’s view, the number was not greater than 99.
After Van Lynden left, US historian Robert Donia was called to the witness stand. Donia has drafted three expert reports for the prosecution: on the origins of Republika Srpska, on the minutes from the sessions of the Bosnian Serb assembly and on the Bosnian Serb leadership and the siege of Sarajevo. In the first half of his examination-in chief, Donia spoke about the Bosnian Serbs’ strategic aims: the ‘separation’ of the ethnic communities, the establishment of a corridor, the elimination of the border on the Drina River and the partition of Sarajevo. Donia will continue his testimony tomorrow.